Facebook and Bebo risk 'infantilising' the human mind
Facebook is a social network site new to the 21st century that millions of users log on to every day to virtually interact with their family and friends. Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college at Oxford University, believes that such social networking sites are putting attention spans in peril. Baroness Greenfield thinks these sites risk infantilizing the mid-21st century, meaning we will become sensationalists with a powerlessness to empathize or recognize our true identity. She has caused members of the government to acknowledge their effort on internet regulation hasn’t stretched to more generalized issues, being matters such as the psychological impact on children.
The first concern Greenfield states is that “if the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviors and call them attention-deficit disorder.” She makes several compelling points while taking this stand - - - times are changing rapidly, and the pace of our lifestyles are quickening along with them. I think that our brains, whether we like it or not, are in fact becoming accustomed to our ever-so-rapidly changing lifestyles. Nevertheless, I would become quite concerned if our brains weren’t altering to fit the way we live our mid-21st century lives. A person who lived in the 20th century would be eaten alive if they attempted to live a recent day in the life of, for example, a New York City businessperson. Going out on a limb here, I might even take it as far as saying in order to live in today’s world, you need to have a slight case of attention-deficit disorder to keep up with everybody else. Change is unavoidable, as we must succumb to it in one way or another. Now, I’m not saying that a kid should be able to spend 4 hours of the day on Facebook. At that point, there are other issues that need to be evaluated. But, according to Greenfield, there’s something that happened in that past that can be compared to what may be to come.
It all started out when “killing, skinning, and butchering an animal to eat” was replaced with “the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf.” Greenfield thinks that “real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitized and easier screen dialogues” referring to, say, a conversation between two people over Facebook rather than in person. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go to the supermarket and purchase my meat in the convenience of a package, whereas it seems Greenfield would just as soon rather go out back and shoot ‘ol Bessy instead. In this weird and unjustifiable way, she tries to compare the horrifying slaughtering of a farm animal to a conversation with your grandparents, and the “three-dimensional, real-time interaction” environment with the meat section at your local grocery store. Greenfield tries to make it seem as if these children will be somehow without any social interactions, when surely they will be interacting with their family and friends at home, in person, for a larger portion of the day than could be spent on the computer.
The last piece idea that Greenfield threw out in the open which caught my attention was this statement: “After all, whenever you play a computer game, you can always just play it again; everything you do is reversible.” As far as I’m concerned, the point I feel she’s trying to make is that there happens to be nothing else in life that is reversible. It’s not as if when you finish a book, it will disappear the moment you read the final page. Or when you’re in an argument with another and say something you might regret in the heat of the moment, an apology is not an option. My point is, there are in fact real interactive situations in REAL life that are reversible.
Lady Greenfield makes some referable points on and unsubstantiated stand that is most definitely going to be unnerving more apprehensive parents worldwide. She’s SUGGESTING the government they need to pay more attention to this. She SAYS that Facebook will infantilize us. The problem here lies within the fact that she has no facts to back up what she believes. At this point, it’s all simply her opinion. Extensive research needs to be done to convince anyone whether this is a serious issue that needs immediate attention, or if it’s absolute drivel from the ever-growing technological dissenters.